I’ve decided to write a weekly report while I go through the quitting sugar process. I should have done this the first time around, as I had heaps of great tips to share. The first time I did the protocol set out by the Healthy Home Economist. It was great, but as I don’t eat much junk food and make nearly all my own treats, for me the first 3 steps were all combined into one. This time around I’m trying the I Quit Sugar program, set out in Sarah Wilson’s book. So far, I’m loving her book. It’s got an impressive amount of helpful recipes, and the info is what I would share with my clients.
The I Quit Sugar program is 8 weeks, but the first two weeks are unstructured and based on cutting down on sugar and increasing good fats. I’m skipping them as I want to jump in now! So I’m starting at week 3: cutting out sugar cold turkey.
It’s just past lunchtime on the first day, and so far so good. The key to the early days is to eat, eat, eat. Don’t let yourself get hungry, as it’s so much harder. Lots of protein and fat based snacks. I love macadamias as they have a great natural sweetness too.
Well, in the run-up to dinner I was no where near as zen as after lunch. I was hungry, grumpy and wondering at a sugar free diet that excludes fruit. I have to admit, I don’t personally feel that fruit ever needs to be removed, but I’ve decided to challenge that belief and follow the Sarah Wilson program properly. It was so weird to not share a plate of fruit with my girls at afternoon tea! Anyway I have learnt another valuable lesson: you need to be really organised in the early days. Not having myself a snack ready at afternoon tea made the lead up to dinner unbearable. To succeed at this you really do need to have the following:
-Your cupboard well stocked with sugar free supplies
-Have your day meal planned the day before
-Have several snacks in your handbag (I learnt that the hard way)
I’m planning to end tonight with some natural peanut butter and cacao powder mixed into warm milk. Mmmm sugar free isn’t too bad!
Okay see that statement above; the naively hopeful one about sugar free not being too bad. Yeah, that comment can just fuck off. Today has been hell. The only thing that has got me through is eating my body weight in fresh bread and butter. To not even eat fruit is just crazy! I feel rubbish, and my body is telling me I’m starving, even when I’m not. I tried Sarah’s suggestion of tossing toasted walnuts and cinnamon over yoghurt – it was awful. I choked down 3/4 of the bowl and then admitted defeat. I actually like natural yoghurt, but it needs some fruit at least. I just walked past Sarah smiling from the front cover of her book as I went to write this. For a moment I wanted to physically harm her! (to be fair it’s the first day of my period. I would harm cute kittens today if they messed with me).
The good thing about today is it has strengthened my resolve to see this through. For me to feel so strongly about quitting sugar shows me what a problem I have with it. I have eaten a ton of food all day, so it’s not low blood sugar. This is something I do need to do. I’m keen to see what my palate and food choices are like once I can relax the program a bit.
My tip for today is again about being prepared. Whenever I have had a craving today it has been when I am most busy. Normally I would mindlessly grab something sugar laden, like a muesli bar, but today I had no quick solution and no time to think of one. Tomorrow I’m going to write a list for the fridge. I’m going to include sweet vegetables like carrot and red capsicum, a yummy spread like macadamia butter and cacao and a fat fix of olive tapenade on rice cakes. These little treats would have got me through today, and had I made the list already would possibly have saved the bread from becoming a casualty of the sugar war.
Hell. Just pure hell.
I felt a lot more in control today, and my every waking thought was not on sugar like it was yesterday. I made a list of healthy snack options for the fridge too, which helped me find food options when a craving hit.
Today has been really good. I’m in control of my cravings and have had steady energy all day. The biggest change I’ve got so far is an awareness of how much I mistake hunger for a sugar craving. There are so many points during the day where I snack on a muesli bar, a huge bowl of yoghurt with honey or chocolate thinking I’m hungry. Really I’m not though, I’m craving sugar. I had no idea this was occurring! My eyes have really opened. I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks, and having my body come back into balance.
Tonight was my birthday party; a traditional Sri Lankan feast! I was really excited about today as I had planned to indulge in the Sri Lankan desserts. All day I was wondering what they would be like. When the dessert was served though I had NO desire to eat it. I can normally annihilate a dessert in record time, but I didn’t even taste it until an hour later. Even then I had two tiny bites of one, and one bite of the other and was done. This is a massive turn around for me, and has completely convinced me I am doing the right thing.
Today I am having some sugar cravings, but I find it quite manageable now. I’m going to have a bowl of raw nuts now, and some vegie sticks. This seems like a treat! I’m completely sold on the sugar free lifestyle change.
Overall this has been the most amazing journey. I started slightly skeptical on the benefit of such a strict 3 week quitting period, now I am totally sold. I am finding it easy to do now at day 7, and my relationship with food is changing. The most surprising aspect of this last week is realising how often I eat a snack when I’m not really hungry. I will often have a muesli bar, a big bowl of yoghurt with honey or some chocolate because I thought I was hungry. Now I realise I wasn’t hungry – I was craving sugar!
I am really excited to see what changes the next 2 weeks bring.